Stellantis is set to offer a conversion programme that would take an existing vehicle and convert it into an electric van.
Owners would be able to take their van with 100,000km (62,000 miles) on the clock into Stellantis and the company would retrofit a battery and electric motor for less than the cost of a new vehicle, thus extending the life of the van.
The initial plan is to offer the scheme on the brand’s medium vans, so the Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert, Fiat Scudo and Vauxhall Vivaro.
“This innovation gives our professional customers the choice to convert their current vans to electric, extend their vehicle’s life and meet legislative and mobility requirements.” said Alison Jones, Stellantis Senior Vice President, Circular Economy Business Unit.
Extending vehicle life and usage is at the heart of the Stellantis Circular Economy Business Unit, who is leading the initiative in collaboration with the Commercial Vehicle Business Unit and the Stellantis Ventures Studio.
The electric retrofit solution aims to protect freedom of mobility with an affordable option that meets customer needs to extend the life of their vehicles and continue business activities while accessing low emissions zones (LEZ) in cities.
According to the EIT Urban Mobility Report, the number of LEZ zones in Europe increased by 40 per cent in the last three years and will continue to increase as part of the enforcement of urban vehicle access regulations. The driver for this increase is the European Green Deal plan, aimed at encouraging the transition to cleaner vehicles and cleaner mobility.
Electric retrofitting is both a sustainable and affordable solution for customers willing to switch to zero emissions and to reduce their total cost of ownership, while keeping their vehicles.
“Retrofitting technology will reinforce Stellantis’ leadership in zero emission mobility solutions for professional customers, complementing our full electrified van range,” said Xavier Peugeot, Stellantis Senior Vice President, Commercial Vehicle Business Unit.
The conversion would be done via your local dealer, who would then send it off to a Stellantis facility to do the work.
Although the finer details are yet to be ironed out, and could be different in respective countries, the intention would then be to offer the same aftersales experience as if a van had come in for other work. This means that the motor and battery should be subject to the same warranty and coverage as an original electric vehicle.
However, it is not clear whether Stellantis would extend this cover to any of the other, potentially heavily used, parts of the vehicle.
The retrofit would provide an electric range of 120 miles, which is down on the range offered by a brand new electric medium van from Stellantis’ four brands, which was 211 miles before the recent updates and is now 224 miles. The payload on offer will be 900kg.
Currently it is possible to retrofit a plug-in hybrid range extender courtesy of Bedeo, but there is no official electric vehicle conversion provided by a manufacturer.
How much will the swap cost and when can I get it done?
The precise figures have yet to be finalised, but Peugeot said that the likely cost is set to be around €20,000 (about £17,400). This would include the necessary physical equipment and the labour.
The plan is to launch the scheme in France to start off with, with the first vehicles going out in late 2024, but Stellantis has said that it intends to extend to other markets ‘including the UK.’
The challenge and potential barrier to uptake would be the various countries’ tax systems and the benefit of making a conversion. As things stand it is possible to reclassify a vehicle as electric, but this would have to be sufficiently simple and beneficial to make it worthwhile in the UK.
The decision to bring it to the UK, and other markets, will be driven by customer demand. We’ll let you know as soon as there is a call to bring it to this country and how much it is likely to cost.